Hire people who are smarter than you and empower them to do their best work
Today's entrepreneur is Allen Tsai
. Allen is the founder of Pani, a smart-home company building products that help consumers and utilities measure, monitor, and recycle water. He started Pani with the inspiration of his experience building water wells in Nepal. With a background in IoT, Allen took lessons from a lifetime of water conservation to usher in the convergence of tech & water sustainability.
Pani recently raised $1 million seed funding led by Blake Chandlee, former vice president of global partnerships at Facebook — which it’ll use to acquire talent and drive product development.
Prior to finding Pani, Allen co-founded Azul Mobile and Ekata Systems. Allen holds a BS degrees from University of California, Berkeley in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Business Administration.
I am a(n):
Companies I've founded or co-founded:
Companies I work or worked for:
Achievements (products built, personal awards won):
Absent Father of the Year
If you are an entrepreneur, why?
I want to prove that doing well and doing good are not mutually exclusive.
My favorite startups:
Kiva, Charity Miles, Tile, Dyson
What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
Walking the fine line between: Tenacity and stubbornness. Conviction and flexibility. Vision and tactics. Chicken and egg.
Making decisions with a limited dataset and no clear "right" answer. The combination of being data-driven and gut-driven when making pivotal calls is scary and exhilarating.
What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?
Not dreaming big enough.
What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?
1) It is all about the people. Hire people who are smarter than you and empower them to do their best work. If you are the smartest person in the room, there's a problem.
2) It is just as important (if not more) to motivate employees with an aspirational vision as it is to write them a nice paycheck.
3) Don't be afraid to tackle big, hairy problems that people think you're crazy for attempting. "The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer".